SOC 315 Fall 2014 Culture, Consumption and Modernity (W)

How do lifestyles, fashions and trends appear and evolve? Are we authors of our own taste? What structures our choices of goods and activities? What is it that gives meaning to objects and makes them desirable? Are there non-consumer societies in the modern world? How has globalization changed the ways people consume in different parts of the globe? This course will explore the consumption and consumer practices as products of modernity and will analyze the political, cultural and social agendas that have transformed consumption over time. Politics of consumption (the way in which seemingly free and independent consumption choices aggregate into the existing system of global capitalism) will be treated alongside its symbolic element: the role of consumer practices in creating and articulating identities, building relationships and creating solidarities. It will look at fashion, advertising, arts and shopping in places as varied as nineteenth-century France, socialist Russia, and in contemporary United States, tracing both the mechanisms that structure patterns of consumption, and the implications that these patterns have for the larger social order.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: full participation, ten journal entries and a 15-page term paper that will go through a draft and revision stage
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Prerequisites: none; open to first year students
Enrollment Preference: Anthropology and Sociology majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division II,Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives,INST - Urbanizing World Electives
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1216
SOC 315 - 01 (F) SEM Culture,Consumption&Modernity (W) Division 2: Social StudiesWriting Intensive Olga Shevchenko
TF 2:35 PM-3:50 PM Hopkins Hall 400 (Rogers Room) 1216
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